Patra's Other Place

I started out with Patra's Place, primarily dedicated to my linen collection and stitching projects. But I kept getting side-tracked, so I decided to create Patra's Other Place for anything not related to embroidery topics. So you now have a choice. If you are interested in me, read this. If you only want to see my linen and stitching, visit Patra's (original) Place! (Please note that by clicking on any of the photos, they will be enlarged to fill your computer screen.)

My Photo
Location: Melbourne, Vic., Australia

I am married to Ken. We have no children except two cats and a collection of finches, canaries and a dozen hens.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Update on the front garden, a week later.

In one afternoon, Tony transformed a truck load of gravel on the driveway from this:

To this:



Saturday, July 25, 2015

Latest photos of the front yard upgrade.

Today I went to the Quilt and Craft Fair with my friend Connie, and she asked how our landscaping was going.  I said "Did I tell you about that?" and she said no, she saw it on my blog.  So I promised I would post some more photos to show what Tony has been doing.  I got home from the Fair to find he had been very busy, finished the brick steps, and moving rocks around to hold the soil on the slope up to the wall.  He has pretty much finished that area and all that has to be done now is plant it out.
 There will be areas of gravel and grass around the circular bricks, and plants near the walls.

The  area where the wheelbarrow is at the moment will be gravel, as Ken wanted somewhere to park a car if need be, it will also give us room to manouvre cars in and out of the garage instead of backing down the driveway which can be perilous at times when there is more traffic up and down our street.  The areas on either side of that will be mulched and planted out.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Front yard upgrade.

When we first bought our house it was only six years old and the gardens back and front had been nicely landscaped.  But as time went on, plants died, things became untidy, and Ken did quite a bit of work himself, putting retaining walls in and moving rocks around.  Then we got a professional landscaper to redo the front completely and it looked great for about 10 years or so.   Again, it started looking untidy, but by then Ken wasn't up to digging it all up and starting again, so we had a few gardeners come and go, doing bits here and there.

When we had our back yard fixed up (again!) last year, the man who did that job (Tony) said he would like to have a go at the front yard one day.  He turned up on the doorstep last month and said  "I'm back!"
He and an offsider have been hard at work ever since, and Ken and I think it is going to look very good indeed by the time they are finished.  The photo below was taken last year, and you can see the rocks along the side of the driveway.  At the footpath end, they have been a nuisance when people are backing their cars down the drive, as they are hard to see, and I hate to think how many cars (including ours) have scraped against those rocks over the years.

Tony hired a back hoe and reefed all the rocks out and repositioned them further away from the side of the driveway.  He used pavers (recycled from the stack in the back yard) to pave the area where the rocks were, and while it is obvious where the concrete drive and the pavers meet, it has made it so much easier to drive in and out.  He will be tidying that area up later on with a few small plants and rocks to hide the edges.

The photo below shows the steps up to our front door.  There are also some steps up to the back gate, which are very rarely used, as if we go to the back yard we always use the path on the other side of the house.  So these steps have been neglected over the years, and were starting to fall apart and become dangerous to walk on.

Tony has removed all the old steps as well as the agapanthus and all the plants that were there except the mature flowering gum and Hibiscus.
The little path at the bottom of this photo has gone too.  Ken put that in about 30 years ago, and we were a bit sad to see it go, but Tony has grandiose plans for the yard and said it wouldn't look right with the new landscaping.  He is going to build steps to the gate with bricks, and have a circular brick area at the foot of the steps.   A retaining wall will be build with the bluestone rocks he pulled out from elsewhere. I am very pleased that he is big on recycling what has been used before elsewhere!
Here he is placing the first level of bluestone rocks, before they finished up for the day.

The magpies thought it was wonderful when they dug up the whole yard and disturbed all those worms!  Enough to feed the magpie family for a few weeks!
My bloggy friend in Scotland will be shocked to know that all the geraniums have been pulled out and taken to the tip.  Sorry Pam!  I know how you admired those big bushes, but they had got very woody and untidy despite my regular pruning, so they had to go.  I picked a few bits off and planted them in the back yard, so it won't take long before they shoot up and start flowering again.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Tribute to Topsy

We had Topsy's remains cremated, and the ashes returned to us, which we collected at the vet's office last week.  We were planning to bury the ashes in the garden and plant a rose bush in the spot, but when we found how beautifully the cremation company had packaged them, we decided not to.  
The ashes were in a plastic bag inside a little lilac tin, with her name printed on it.  There was a cremation certificate and a scented candle, all in a paper bag with paw prints.  Sooooooo cute....

Friday, June 05, 2015

Our Topsy has passed away.

One month ago to the day, I posted an item here about us taking Topsy to the vet, and the vet's diagnosis.  He told us it would be a matter of weeks before she succumbed to heart failure, and it was exactly four weeks. For the last two weeks she had been laying on the lambs wool pad we put on the floor for her, not eating, not drinking much, and only moving if we picked her up to give her the drops prescribed by the vet to get rid of the build up of fluid in her chest.

This morning I stroked Topsy for a few minutes before picking her up and she looked up and me and purred.  When I picked her up she made a strange mew/cough sound and when I gave her to Ken to hold so I could administer the drops, she didn't struggle.  After I gave her the drops I took her to the kitty litter tray, in which she squatted, had a wee, then collapsed.  I picked her up and put her on the floor and she looked like she was choking.  Ken was phoning the vet, and I wrapped Topsy in a towel and handed her to him while I took the phone.  She gave a couple of little gasps and stopped breathing.  Poor Ken had tears streaming down his face, and I was telling the vet nurse not to send the vet around here because the cat had died.  The vet was just about to come around, so we caught him in time.  He asked what we wanted to do about Topsy's body, did we want to bury her here or have her cremated.  There is no way we could dig a hole in our yard, it is too rocky, and neither of us are strong enough.  We've always had the vet dispose of our animals when they have been put to sleep.  So we took Topsy to the vet surgery and they organised for her to be cremated, and her ashes brought back to us in a special container.

When we returned home, I put the carry cage on the path outside the back door, ready to put it in the shed.  But Tiger had other ideas.  Animals are not stupid, we might not know what they are thinking, but their actions clearly demonstrate they are aware of change.  Tiger spent about 15 minutes checking the carry cage.  Under any other circumstances, he would run a mile; they know it means a trip to the vet.  But today, see what he did:

The placemats on our kitchen table for the past year have featured chooks, but I decided it was time for a change.  So I pulled out all my previous years Black Cat calendars and Ken and I picked out our favourite pictures, which I then proceeded to laminate using a picture on each side.  Here is our kitchen table tonight with our tribute to Topsy place mats:
One side:

The flip side:

Monday, May 25, 2015

Ringtail possum, and a taste sensation.

Tiger, our little grey cat, was excited about something in the back yard today.  He kept looking up into one of the Photinia trees, so I crawled under the branches and had a look.  There was a Ringtail Possum high up, looking down at Tiger, so I caught Puss and took him inside, and got my camera.

The "taste sensation" is Cadbury's latest innovation in their Dairy Milk block range.  When I read about this on the Down To Earth forum, I thought "she's having us on - nobody would make chocolate flavoured with Vegemite"....would they?  Well, they did!
Even some of my friends who claim they don't like Vegemite (how un-Australian is that, lol), tried this chocolate and liked it!  I have eaten half a block already, and will be going back to Woolworths for more just in case they sell out!

Friday, May 22, 2015

More photos of Topsy.

Topsy hasn't been up on our bed for about four years.  Since Tiger arrived, actually.  He decided at a very early age that he was going to sleep with us, and they had a few scuffles on the end of the bed for a few weeks, then she apparently gave up and went off to sleep elsewhere.  So we were surprised to find her here the other day, tucked herself in behind the pillow under the bedspread.

Tiger was also surprised, or maybe just concerned - who knows what cats are thinking?   He got up there and gazed at her for quite a while, before hopping down and wandering off again.

Ken is showing his age these days - or is it just the photo?  Anyway, an old man with an old cat.  Well she is 84 in human terms.

adopt your own virtual pet!